SWAT Raids vs. Military Raids
A commenter on this Show-Me Daily post about SWAT raids wondered how much worse military raids in Afghanistan might be compared to SWAT raids in this country. An Army officer writing to Radley Balko suggests that it is actually easier to obtain permission for a SWAT raid in America than a military raid in a war zone like Afghanistan, and that SWAT teams here use more aggressive tactics:
I am a US Army officer, currently serving in Afghanistan. My first thought on reading this story is this: Most American police SWAT teams probably have fewer restrictions on conducting forced entry raids than do US forces in Afghanistan.
For our troops over here to conduct any kind of forced entry, day or night, they have to meet one of two conditions: have a bad guy (or guys) inside actively shooting at them; or obtain permission from a 2-star general, who must be convinced by available intelligence (evidence) that the person or persons they’re after is present at the location, and that it’s too dangerous to try less coercive methods. The general can be pretty tough to convince, too. (I’m a staff liason, and one of my jobs is to present these briefings to obtain the required permission.)
Generally, our troops, including the special ops guys, use what we call “cordon and knock”: they set up a perimeter around the target location to keep people from moving in or out,and then announce their presence and give the target an opportunity to surrender. In the majority of cases, even if the perimeter is established at night, the call out or knock on the gate doesn’t happen until after the sun comes up.
Oh, and all of the bad guys we’re going after are closely tied to killing and maiming people.
What might be amazing to American cops is that the vast majority of our targets surrender when called out.
I don’t have a clear picture of the resources available to most police departments, but even so, I don’t see any reason why they can’t use similar methods.
I can’t personally vouch for anything this officer claims about Army protocol, but if what he claims is true, it’s very disturbing.